After months under wraps, Highline BETA announced itself to the global startup community today. A new company under the HIGHLINE umbrella, Highline BETA is founded by Ben Yoskovitz, author of Lean Analytics, and Marcus Daniels, HIGHLINE.vc’s co-founder and CEO. Both co-founders took to blog post to outline the vision for the new company.
For Daniels, who recently celebrated the two-year anniversary of HIGHLINE.vc with an infographic detailing the pre-seed investment firms performance, the focus was not on past success but the current requirements for future gains. “Disruptive innovation,” Daniels claims, requires not only a new model but “bolder moves.”
“I believe founders are best served when investors are entrepreneurs themselves,” Daniels said.
“I believe founders are best served when investors are entrepreneurs themselves.”
To that end, Highline BETA will be focused on evolving the model of startup co-creation. The underlying equation driving the new company? According to Yoskovitz: corporate partners + top-tier founders + early funding = better startups.
“We work with large, corporate customers to identify and validate problem areas/opportunities of interest,” Yoskovitz. “We bring in top-tier founders to start companies in those areas of interest. And we provide the first funding into the startups as well.”
Highline BETA’s equation? Corporate partners + top-tier founders + early funding = better startups
While the intended outcome of Highline BETA might be the same as startup Labs or Foundries focused on co-creation, the key differentiator will be in the logistics of achieving that outcome. Corporations won’t be choosing to fuel innovation internally or outsource, but working with BETA to identify real problems they need help solving. The startups themselves will be de-risked by knowing they’re focused on a problem that needs solving, with potential customers, investors, acquirers already lined up. Equity will drive the aggressive pursuit of innovation faster than salary-based incentives typically found in these setups (Highline will be investing in startups it co-creates as well as others).
Of course, the devil is in the details, and Highline BETA is currently very mum on important aspects like investment thesis and corporate sponsors, although sharp eyes will note from the company’s homepage that BDC is involved. “BDC Capital has been a partner with Highline since inception. We’re excited by the potential offered by their new model of startup acceleration,” says a caption attributed to BDC’s Mike Mahon.
Speaking with Daniels, the co-founder decried the trend of “superficial announcements” in the startup ecosystem, and indicated that Highline BETA will let its corporate partners tell the story when the time is right (case studies are currently underway with specifics to be revealed later this fall). However, Daniels did indicated that Highline BETA will have a global focus with corporate partners and that each BETA partner can effectively participate in around four startups per year (Highline will be looking to add additional team members to effectively scale).
“This is a quality, not quantity model,” he said.
Disclosure: BetaKit’s Toronto office previously operated out of HIGHLINE.vc’s Toronto co-working space. Highline BETA will be located in Lighthouse Labs’ co-working space, which also currently houses BetaKit.